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Lebanese protest over stopping explosion investigation

Beirut, Sep 29 (Prensa Latina) A massive protest in front of the Palace of Justice today condemned the decision to put the investigation into the explosion in Lebanon's main port on hold.

Led by relatives of the victims of the catastrophe, the demonstrators assured that suspending the investigation was another flagrant case of political obstruction.

A spokesman for the families, Ibrahim Hoteit, announced that one of the measures of the victims’ families would be to take justice into their own hands.

The group’s unease and anger grew following a decision to halt the investigation process in response to a complaint by former Interior Minister Nouad Machnouk, who considered the inquiry politicized.

Machnouk rejected a legal request to appear to testify before the judge in charge of the case, Tarek Bitar.

The families of the victims described this suspension as shameful and harmful, because it kills the hopes of those of us who expect truth and justice, not revenge, said Hoteit.

The rally in front of the Beirut Palace of Justice unfurled a large banner that read: ‘We will not be killed twice’.

Bitar’s predecessor, Fadi Sawan, was removed from the investigation last February when he summoned former ministers and senior commanders for questioning about the blast.

On August 4, 2020 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in a Beirut port warehouse resulting in one of the largest non-nuclear disasters in history; 215 people were killed and thousands injured, and about 300,000 became homeless.